Archive for February, 2011

by lizard

Incrementalism can be thought of as a process of using tiny steps versus big leaps. When applied to the decades long domestic war by Big Money against the New Deal, the anecdote of the boiling frog comes to mind:

The boiling frog story is a widespread anecdote describing a frog slowly being boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability of people to react to significant changes that occur gradually

As a political strategy, incrementalism has worked pretty darn well for the predators of finance and those soulless, bottom-line thinking sociopaths known in their personhood as corporations. But their greed appears to be trumping their carefully measured assault. Maybe that’s because they have accumulated so much influence over our political system, they’ve decided to abandon the slow burn that cooks us while our national ADD keeps us preoccupied, and decided to go balls out against their sworn enemies, unions, and the rights workers have fought and died for.

But it’s bad timing for the GOP to shift into high gear. After the predominantly peaceful protesters in Egypt dethroned their authoritarian autocrat, the seed of people power has been planted around the globe, and as spring approaches, what will grow will depend on the direct actions of people, not the ethereal hopes that our elected officials are capable of withstanding the corrupting influence of corporate power on their own.

I may not have a lot of hope for the national, two-party political system we’ve got, which is broken, but I do have hope that on smaller stages, there is a populism capable of transcending seemingly insurmountable divides.

By going all or nothing; by trying to make Wisconsin the vanguard for the state by state GOP assault on public workers, Governor Walker has brought cops and firefighters into the fight, in solidarity with their union brothers and sisters. Big mistake.

One of the speakers at the 100,000 person rally this weekend was Jeff Skiles, a co-pilot on the no-fatality plane crash that became known as the miracle on the Hudson. Watch snips of his speech and others at Democracy Now.

In our bleak political environment, the resistance bubbling up gives me hope. Cops acting in solidarity with protestors is a beautiful thing. And it scares the hell out of the predators who won’t stop until they have everything.

by JC

Nice! Now let’s see him put it to work.

by Pete Talbot

Missoula County Democrats held the traditional transmittal potluck dinner Sunday evening at University Congregational Church, recognizing the work Missoula’s delegation has done at the halfway point of this legislative session. Our state representatives and senators updated the crowd and took questions.

Before my take on their message, here are some general impressions:

About 150 folks attended and the food flowed. The mood was upbeat — which is what everyone needed after a brutal first half. The mix — the usual suspects and the new, younger faces; the organizers, the party faithful, some newbies — were there to support the daunting work the delegation has done to date. Legislators were happy to look out over a sea of friendly faces, which has not been a common occurrence for them in Helena.

I counted ten Missoula area legislators. I didn’t go there to take notes, so these are rough observations.

One of the big concerns was the number of referendums that could appear on the 2012 ballot. You know, some of those wacky bills that didn’t make it out of the legislature or were vetoed by the governor: nullification, the assualts on the environment, land use, abortion rights, etc.

Just what Montana needs, a dozen unconstitutional, anti-voter and just plain silly referendums that will clutter the ballot. The far right will continue pushing regressive legislation long after this session is over.

And enough crazy bills have already been introduced that they’re getting national attention, something the Missoula delegation noted: most Montanans don’t like the negative publicity.

Also, legislators mentioned some of the bad bills that could cost the state millions in federal dollars; which doesn’t seem to upset the Teapublicans. Health, human services, and environmental programs that generate funding and jobs; all looking at cuts.

And then there’s education, especially higher education (when we need it the most). More cuts.

Our legislators noted they’d been able to kill some of the most heinous bills. The delegation has been holding together well. They’re not in lock step, though, as evidenced in their varying support on eminent domain bills.

Many Missoula ordiances are under attack, and legislators noted the irony of the anti-big governement forces that advocate for local control and then dismiss the will of Missoula voters.

Budget issues are coming up in the next 45 days. There’s the governor’s budget, the legislative analysist’s budget and the Republican budget; the Republican budget being the most pessimistic and least forward thinking, as usual.

I’m just scratching the surface but here’s what I came away with: Keep those Capitol visits, emails and phone calls coming. Write a letter to the editor. Get ready to work hard on the 2012 elections.

And from me: support your Missoula Area legislators — they’re doing as good a job as is humanly possible up there in Helena.


The social engineering argument – the argument that certain policies are meant to control our actions and thus negatively affect our freedoms and are inherently socialistic – is brought out by conservatives on a regular basis to counter progressive ideas and policies.  Wanting to rid the world of plastic shopping bags, switching to more efficient CFL light-bulbs, or promoting alternative modes of transportation are examples of policies that have this argument flung their way all the time.  And given how many Teapublicants seem to view such policies, it would seem they would like to turn the clock back with a big win for freedom and allow us to purchase leaded gas once again.

I was reminded of this on Friday when Michelle Malkin responded via Twitter to Ray Lahood’s announcement that high-speed rail will create thousands of American jobs.  Malkin linked to a post on her blog where she claimed that supporters of high-speed rail were “eco-radical social planners;” obviously in this case giving people more choice when it comes to travel is undesirable and radical.  According to many conservative pundits, social engineering is something that only those evil leftists attempt to undertake.  When Malkin uses the term to attack high-speed rail she conjures up images of government bureaucrats taking away hard-working, middle-class Americans’ cars, forcing them into 200 sq ft apartments in Soviet style housing complexes, and forcing abortions upon all women.

So what is social engineering?  Social Engineering is the…

“effort to influence popular attitudes and social behaviors on a large-scale, whether by governments or private groups in the political arena.”

Pretty broad idea right?  One that conservatives embrace in many of their policies.  Attempts to bust unions in Wisconsin, Ohio, and New Jersey, efforts Malkin has been heartily cheering for, are social engineering because the aim is t ultimately reshape the attitude that Americans hold regarding the relationship between workers and corporate interests… Wisconsin is just the first step.  30 years of constantly chipping away at government social programs, the deification of The Great Gipper, and convincing half of this country that Reaganomics actually works all fit under the premise of social engineering.

Some examples of real world social engineering, both good and bad,  as opposed to the kind Malkin imagines:

  • Henry Ford paying his workers $5/day so that they could actually make a living
  • Andrew Carnegie building libraries throughout America in order to spread literature, culture, and his good name
  • Walmart convincing people to buy cheap products from China that accelerates the exportation of American jobs
  • Things like Jesus Camp
  • Eisenhower’s National Highway System which had a major influence in turning America into a motoring society
  • The Abolition movement
  • Prohibition
  • Abolition of child labor via the Fair Labor Standards Act

Even America’s Founding Fathers were social engineers when they conjured up a contract which would form the basis for not just our system of government, but would establish our sense of identity as Americans and as a symbol for every social and civil rights movement throughout our history.  Social engineering is all around us in our everyday lives, mainly in the form of marketing telling us that this or that product is safe and will improve our lives.  But it also comes in the forms of legislating morality and the push by some to turn America into Ayn Rand’s wet dream.

To insinuate that only those fucking dirty-hippie-socialist-fascist-pigs that want a cleaner world are responsible for social engineering is deceitful.  I guess its only social engineering if the policy comes from the other side of the political spectrum.  And apparently some conservatives would like to rid America of the stench of social engineering that are child labor laws and have little Timmy STFU and get back to the lathe.

by problembear

UPDATE: Wisconsin Police Union joins protesters- refuses to remove citizens from Capitol …

attention GOP, and Gov Walker …..

when you’re messin’ with workers and people’s freedom, you’re messin’ with a son of a bitch.

the rally at the state capital of Wisconsin begins in four minutes. you can follow it on twitter at!/AndrewKroll some up to the minute video here…

if we cannot protect the freedom of our own workers in this country then what the hell are we doing in Iraq and Afghanistan?

since the wisconsin police won’t abide by the governor’s order to remove citizens from the capitol now, it would be triple ironic if walker calls out the national guard to remove them, wouldn’t it? and quadruple ironic if the national guard refused to obey walker also.

tea party logic of supporting the continued wars for the freedom of iraq and afghanistan while calling for an end to freedom in the USA is coming back full circle on them like a heat seeking sidewinder.

The men who hate women

By Duganz

I’m intentionally referencing the original title of Steig Larsson’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” because it is the most upfront and real statement about the west. We – Europe, Canada, and the US – are societies that hate women. Yes, we let them vote, work and dress as they see fit, but that doesn’t mean we love – or even like – women.

Don’t believe me? Read on.

This week two bits of news really got to me. One:  A boy named Joel Northup said he couldn’t wrestle a girl named Cassy Herkelman because “Wrestling is a combat sport, and at times it gets violent, and you get put in moves and holds that are comprising… I just don’t believe it’s right that a boy and a girl should, in this manner, wrestle.”

This is what Northup’s Dad, a pastor named Jamie, said, “Even though there’s no specific Scripture that addresses wrestling with girls, there is the biblical Christian principle of treating women with respect and dignity… and not looking at them as objects to be defeated on the wrestling mat to be, in some cases, groped or slammed.”

How the fuck is it respectful to not take her on? There is a difference between groping a woman in public, at random, and competing against a strong woman who throws on a singlet and an earguard, and says, “Bring it.” To not do your best against that woman is to call her weak and feeble; it is to say that she is not a man and therefore lacks critical worth as a competitor and person. (Side note: Look at how proud the father of Cassy Herkleman looks in the above photo.) Continue Reading »

by carfreestupidity

To celebrate the end of the work week; a gem of a wtf moment.


by JC

“If American workers are being denied their right to organize when I’m in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes and I will walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States.”

– Barack Obama, quoted by Slate, while making a campaign speech in 2007.
It’s winter, Mr. President. You might want to put on some warm boots… or is she a talkin’ ’bout you?

Hat tip to Matty at LitW for the quote!

by lizard

Raymond Davis is probably not a widely known name here in the states. Yet. But as this story evolves, the entire premise for America’s WAR ON TERROR could unravel. But the Obama administration and our corporate media are trying really hard to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Raymond Davis is being held in Lahore, Pakistan after shooting and killing two motorcyclists who, according to the accused, were trying to rob him. A third Pakistani was allegedly killed by a speeding car that is suspected of trying to come to Davis’ aid.

The Obama administration is in full damage control mode, which means they will say anything to keep this incident from escalating an already tense situation in Pakistan. But so far the lies and deceit coming from the White House haven’t been adequate. The truth is slowly leaking out. Continue Reading »

by problembear

see, i don’t think most people in montana or wisconsin or indiana or ohio knew what they were voting for when they marked their x in the box accross from these tea party candidates. and new polls are being conducted all over the country which are starting to show that the wind is shifting for the GOP, who stupidly hitched their wagons to the tea party with a radical anti-union, anti-women, extremist agenda. now the backfire is turning on them…..

old crew boss on a backfire with my cat-skinning crew always told us to check our exits and pay attention when the wind shifts. GOP take heed.

in fact, i think the GOP attacks on unions have started people wondering if they shouldn’t join up.

By Duganz

Back in 2001 I read an article about some people trying to get “Intelligent Design” taught in classes alongside science. I laughed it off because any five year old can disprove the Biblical story of creation. Here’s a script you’ve surely heard:

Mother: What’s your favorite dinosaur Billy?

Billy: By answering that question, Mother, I will be disproving the Biblical creation story because it of course makes no mention of dinosaurs, but instead begins with the creation of man, which we know didn’t happen because we’ve found dinosaurs much older than man. It’s called carbon dating, it’s a complex analysis of bones or tissue at the atomic level, counting… well, honestly, it’s a bit complex, Mother, so I will conclude that my dinosaur preference is meaningless, but I do enjoy our talks.

Okay, maybe it’s different and the kid actual names a dinosaur and doesn’t give a monologue like he’s in an Ayn Rand novel. But the point is that I didn’t think these people were a threat. No one, I thought, was stupid enough to elect people who thought things like that.

I felt the same way when I would see Fred Phelps on TV. No one is that stupid to believe him. God hates fags? Who actually reads Leviticus 18:22 or 20:13 and thinks, “Sure. Of course”?

Well… I’ve underestimated the stupidity, cruelty, and ignorance of the average person.

HB516, which has been talked about plenty, will legitimize the discrimination of LGBT individuals for religious zealots who enjoy the Bible when they can use it for gain (hatin’ those gays!), but never mention the parts that give credence to the unpopular beliefs (Lot’s daughters rape him? Noah was a drunk? Genesis chapter one is completely different than Genesis chapter two and yet tells the same story? Jesus kills a fig tree?)

But what’s more important and more terrifying is that these people are winning.

And before anyone gets out the “We’re not all liberals!” flag, just remember this: Neither was Goldwater when he got on TV and said that he loved his gay grandson.

So, yeah, I’m a pretty socially liberal guy who has kissed at least five other dudes (that’s off the top of my head, maybe more… I drank a lot in college). But when it comes down to it we all know that the government has no right to tell us who or how to love. They should stay out of our bedrooms, our homes, and our lives as much as possible.

I’m starting to ramble and get angry just thinking about how the Session has gone so far with these “small government” people in power. I hope Brian has a lot of pens handy. He’s got some vetoing to do if he has a modicum of respect for personal rights.

Let’s hear it folks… what’s everyone thinking?

Their Plan

by lizard

Robert Reich has articulated a compelling breakdown of the Republican plan to use their tea-party trojan horse victory last November to make a three-pronged attack on Americans.

The whole piece is below the fold, and it’s a must read. But I think the concluding question Reich leaves the reader with is key, and might be helpful to consider while reading his analysis, so here it is:

What is the Democratic strategy to counter this and reclaim America for the rest of us? Continue Reading »

by jhwygirl

This post has and is being updated.

Why brave the ice and snow and cold alone – MEA-MFT is sponsoring buses to Helena, leaving from Missoula. Meet at the Adam’s Center at 8 a.m. Buses will return to Missoula by 5:30 p.m.
There are car pools being organized out of Butte, sponsored by MEA-MFT. I am working on more specific information.
There is a bus being organized by people in Deerlodge, which is apparently a rather organic situation – so I don’t have anyone there I can get specifics from on it – – but if you are in Deerlodge, contact a teacher or a prison employee or a union worker. They’ll know.
There are vans and car pools coming from Bozeman. Some are scheduled for 8, and they are currently working on possibilities for later departures. Still working on more specifics, but I have been told that you can call Morgan Smith at 773-515-4093 for info or to offer rides.
The Montana Organizing Project, a statewide coalition of non-profit organizations, churches, unions, and small business groups has put together a training session for Monday being held in concert with the Gathering at the Capital. M.O.P. members will spend the morning learning about how the legislature works, attending hearings, and visiting with legislators. They will then join the Rally to Save Public Services & Education at 2:00 (see below). CONTACT: Molly Moody, 406-529-8497
Pro-Choice Montana will also be holding a mini-training session also – in concert with the Gathering at the Capital. This legislative session, has proven challenging for reproductive rights as we face a record number of anti-choice attacks at the Capitol. It is important that we stand up against extremism and demonstrate that Montanans do not support bills that would jeopardize the health of our mothers, daughters, sisters and friends. You must register for this training. Contact or email me at hotmail.

I will update this if and as I get info on other rides being offered across the state. If you have info, please below.

Did anyone catch Gov. Schweitzer on CNN this afternoon?

by jhwygirl

Wulfgar! at Left in the West gets the hat tip on this one.

From Friday’s hearings, detailed in several posts below. Watch Superstar State Representative Ellie Hill (HD-94) take on the Montana’s Christian Taliban’s Reverend Harris Himes.

Rep. Hill? THANK YOU.

This is a civilized society. It seems that some of the GOP running these committees forgets these things. Every statement does not fall under “free speech” and inciting violence is not anything that should be tolerated.

And Rep. Ken Peterson, of Billings? 10 minutes is not a public hearing.

You represent ALL, not just those than elected you. You are a disgrace to the state bar (if you hold it); a disgrace to the House Judiciary; and a disgrace to the Montana Legislature.

And pulling for seventeen executive actions in House Judicary on Monday morning, in less than 4 hours? That leaves no time for meaningful discussion between legislators – but that’s exactly what you want now, isn’t it?

You are a disgrace to democracy.

by problembear

Montana- are you as mad as i am?

watch live streaming of democracy rising in wisconsin here

What has the tea party done for you?

  • prevented real health insurance reform and allowed insurance cartels to monopolize our health care delivery system so that the average annual out of pocket cost of health insurance by both employers and employees for the average four person family is now over $1119.89 per month.what is important to remember is that this figure doesn’t even count the amount of the deductible and co-pays most families really pay for this insurance. when you combine the avg premium with the avg deductible and co-pay, americans and their employers pay in excess of $15,500.00 per year.
  • Canadians pay out of pocket only $104.00 per month for a four person family only $1248.00 per year. no deductible and no co-pay.

next time some poor gullible tea party person buttonholes you and explains the benefits of their corporate master serving agenda, please remind them of what the tea party has done for us regarding health insurance reform. and i don’t care what happens to the piece of cowardly Baucus-sausage that made it through congress under the guise of health care reform a couple of years ago. that legislation turned its back on the 70% of americans that wanted singlepayer like canada or at least public option insurance to break up the monopoly of our private health insurers. it’s dead to most americans.

the tea party has already destroyed delayed our best chance at affordable health care in this country.  and now they are setting out to destroy women’s rights, schools, labor laws, laws that protect us from corporate greed like pollution, extinction of species, and even deny modern scientific principles in furtherance of extremist religious beliefs. they promote racism and hatred toward everyone not born white, male and (ostensibly) straight in the usa.

it is time to write the epitaph to this party in 2012 and even sooner by recalling the candidates who won office on their people-hating corporate serving platforms. the volcano is erupting within lower and middle class americans in answer to the greedy misguided goals of the tea party. can you feel it america?

i doubt if the people who voted for these idiots realized just how far they would go to make it hard on middle class families in america to afford the very basics while granting tax cuts to the very wealthiest 5% of americans.

i figure they have cost too much already. america’s middle class cannot afford the tea party anymore. it is time to rise up and demand to be heard above the corporate flack-jackals who run this sound machine for the benefit of the wealthy and start thinking about ways to create better jobs and make the things families really need like health insurance more affordable for them instead of more profitable for the corporate sponsors of the tea party. please remember this when the tea party attacks american democracy………

an injury to one is an injury to all.


There is a great blog post over at the Economist highlighting an academic paper that studied the responsiveness of legislation and policies to the wishes of different income groups.  Basically, government policies are very responsive to the opinions of the richest members of society, and almost completely ignore the opinions of the lower income groups.

But… we all pretty much already knew this.  but its still worth a read.

by Pete Talbot

Of course, with his excellent taxpayer paid health care, he’d get state-of-the-art treatment.  If, however, he was a lower or middle-class man or woman seeking affordable treatment in Montana, his options would be limited.  Whether it was an STD or some other reproductive health issue, or just some condoms, considering the bill he and his congressional cohorts passed, he can forget about Planned Parenthood.

It’s called the Pence Amendment, named after a very nasty little Republican representative from Indiana named Mike Pence.  It’s an attack on Title X family planning and specifically Planned Parenthood. The vote was 240-185, pretty much along party lines.

Here’s a synopsis from Montana Planned Parenthood’s CEO, Stacy James:

In attacking Planned Parenthood, the House Republican leadership including Representative Rehberg, has launched an outrageous assault on the thousands of Montanans who rely on our local clinics for primary and preventive health care, including lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screenings, annual exams, family planning visits, birth control, HIV testing, and more.

I suppose that the representatives voting for this bill thought they were targeting abortion providers.  But by restricting access to sex education and birth control, they’re actually increasing the chance that an abortion will be needed.

And Rehberg is leading the pack in this assault on Montana families, particularly woman who don’t have high-end health care plans like Denny.  More STDs and abortions, fewer cancer screenings, less access to birth control, the end of sex education for teens; thanks Denny.


All of the revolts are led by young men and women, many of whom are novices at political activism. All use modern tools, like social-networking sites on the Internet and texting over mobile phones, to organize and amplify their protests.

That statement could easily apply to the wave of Tea Party success just as it applies to the Arab revolts sweeping the Middle East.  And while most Tea Partiers might not be young, but rather old white people, are their aims really that different?  Both groups aim to achieve regime change, believe that their voices haven’t been heard and that the current government policies don’t take account of their opinions, and are angered over joblessness and economic forces beyond their control.

Yet the media, us bloggers included, tend to treat the two groups very differently.   We have been cheerleaders for one group; calling them “courageous” and “heroes” while “applauding” the “chains being thrown off.”  For the other group?  Well… the second group gets called “crazy,” “unbalanced,” “lunatics,” “domestic terrorists,” and even had their name  mocked in a myriad of semi-witty ways.

Conservatives are generally the opposite, cheerleading for the Tea Party as they “take back their America” while questioning how the situation in Egypt and the broader Middle East will end up ass-raping American interests.

Certainly this is one of the better examples of how identification politics can affect a person’s world view.  Don’t both conservatives and progressives champion the ideals of democracy, free speech, and personal choice?  But here is a good example of how the same ideals viewed through a different lens creates two different outcomes.  How do you get “freedom fighter” vs “lunatic fringe” from two situations exhibiting essentially the same motives, tools, and aims?

Obviously, from the progressive point of view the Tea Party is a rabble of seemingly angry, underbred, uneducated, elderly rednecks.  Because of this, we can look down on them, we dismiss their ideas, we deride their movement, and sarcastically and cynically comment on every Tea Party action or wrong step.  We are ever vigilant to the slightest faux pas, paying too much attention to the unimportant details because we feel threatened by their success and can’t yet understand nor formulate an effective counter to their rapid rise.

Better to try and tear them down what they say then to have real legislation that addresses the underlying issues fomenting the Tea Party’s strengths.

by JC

Come stand in solidarity against the right-wing onslaught around the country against environmental, labor and human rights!

for the love of montana

* Free coffee and hot chocolate for people who bring a reusable mug *

Bus schedules and car pooling info from around the state to Helena after the jump.
Continue Reading »

by jhwygirl

Senate Minority leader Carol Williams speaks to today’s violation of public hearing rules today in the House Judiciary committee:

Sen. Williams made her statement today at the base of the Jeanette Rankin statue in the Capital hall because testimony was not only cut short, but people who traveled from across the state were not allowed to at minimum read their name into the record as a proponent or opponent. This is a written and enacted rule of the legislature: “”Any person wishing to offer testimony to a committee hearing a bill or resolution must be given a reasonable opportunity to do so orally or in writing.”

They attempted to start the hearing on HR516 at 7 a.m., after moving the schedule up one hour, knowing that buses were coming in from across the state to testify in opposition to the bill. Opponents, though, had apparently been given ample warning.

Committee Chair Rep. Ken Peterson attempted this move despite notifying the House during the floor hearing on Thursday afternoon that the first hour would be executive session.

Playing games with public hearings is not nice.

It’s criminal.


A lot happened in the judiciary committee and not a whole hell of a lot of it was open and transparent… I didn’t watch the proceedings, but according to Jhwygirl the proceedings were closed to all public comment.  However I have word that Marnee Banks, the Helena Bureau Chief for KRTV Great Falls is attempting to rectify the situation by currently taking any and all questions on today’s hearings.  Contact Marnee via email at or on Twitter @MarneeBanks


Missoula’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory and Analysis report is ready.  I haven’t had a chance to go through it really, but the buzz on the Missoula listserve is that from 2003-2008 greenhouse gas emissions from the city – that city government operations directly – increased by 46%, to 11,500 tons, with energy costs rising from $200,000 to $1.2 million per annum.  Those increases come mainly from the expansion of municipal  facilities, including buildings and the waste water treatment plant.

“…the City’s energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions have been accompanied by even steeper and unsustainableincreases in energy costs. From a fiscal standpoint alone, it appears that energy cost increases are notsustainable, particularly if energy use continues to increase.”

Read those numbers and feel the guilt… the city services we all like so much seem to have a big impact and with more expansion and upgrades of city services on the way that number is set to climb some more


Our war in Afghanistan isn’t in the news much anymore… there are better and more interesting things for the media to pay attention to now; the uplifting story of the wave sweeping away autocratic regimes in the Middle East, crazy shit Teapublicans do and say, our own economic plight/scandal, or Miley Cyrus taking a bong rip.  And besides, a slow moving wreck is much less interesting than a spectacular flame out.  What more is there for the media to cover and write about that hasn’t already been covered after a decade of occupation of a foreign land?

Armadillo, a Danish documentary following the nine month deployment of a Danish platoon to Helmand during 2009 featured last night at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival does what no reporting can; give an honest portrayal of the situation through the eyes of soldiers.  The documentary takes it’s name from the forward operating base in which the Danish platoon is stationed.  Despite the fact that the cameras are embedded with the Danish soldiers from the time they leave their homes to the time they return, the documentary isn’t a biased affair.  You are given a chance to see the challenges facing both the soldiers and the Afghani civilians.

You see the despair of a mother saying goodbye to her son leaving for Afghanistan; witness the heartbreak of a farmer that had his house blown-up by a mortar – killing his mother and daughter – while he was away at market; see the fear in the eyes of an Afghani father afraid to speak to the Danes for fear of the Taliban cutting the throats of his sons; feel the anxiety of the Danes as they prepare for a patrol and later receive fire from a hidden position; hear the anger in the voice of children who have had friends and family killed in the fighting as they taunt the soldiers; experience concern for a platoon leader seriously injured after his vehicle gets hit by an IED.

Continue Reading »

by jhwygirl

The Indy’s Matthew Frank has an excellent article on the Montana GOP’s attack on a “clean and healthful environment”.

He starts it off with Ann Hedges testimony on SJ10, which I actually heard. It was late on a Friday and as I heard one of the legislators say that carbon dioxide was good for Montana I really really felt sorry for her.

Then I was glad I donate to MEIC.

Goddess Bless Anne Hedges. If I were Soros, that organization would have a million bucks donation from me.

by jhwygirl

There is a bill geared at denying equality to certain people in Montana that will be heard in legislative committee today. It applies retroactively in an effort to quash Missoula and Bozeman’s equality ordinances which extended protections to gays, lesbians and transgendered persons (Bozeman’s not being as far reaching).

There was also some quick maneuvering of the schedule to bring this to hearing…and the committee moved up their start time to 7 a.m. to boot. This bill was introduced on the floor first reading just last Saturday. Special treatment, I’d say.

In addition, along with the quick schedule changes there has been an ongoing discussion about comments. This legislature, controlled by a majority GOP, so they’re holding every committee chair, has been quite disciplined about public comment to the point of a FOX news fair-and-balanced point of view. Equal time, regardless of the number of people.

Now-I understand the need to set some limits – but to just stop the public from comment? I would highly suggest that you take a moment, if you haven’t, to listen to or watch a committee session to see what I mean. I have it on channel 67.

Wisconsin is doing at least one thing right out there – they went overnight in testimony the other night to allow everyone who wanted to testify, testify.

Nothing like last year’s bridge access hearing, as an example, which went on to darn near midnight if not later. Just to allow testimony from everyone that wanted to testify.


It is proposed by a legislator out of Havre, Rep. Kristin Hansen.

Because, you know, Havre doesn’t want all those crazy Missoulians coming up that way and expecting equality and stuff.

In a serendipitous counterbalance, HB514, from Rep. Edie McClafferty, of Butte will be heard, a bill with a short title of “Protect sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.”

So we have yet another nanny-state Republican proposed bill – this one geared at stopping a Missoula ordinance that failed multiple referendum attempts.

Oh – and you know what local politicians here support this nanny-state big government bill? Councilors Dick Haines, Lyn Hellegaard and Renee Mitchell. Haines at least had the guts to vote “no” in committee to the City of Missoula opposing the oridnance. Lyn and Renee? The merely abstained.

Ward 5? Ward 4? You got some real hate-filled people representing you on city council. Let’s hope you do better next time around.

I know Bozeman’s Mayor Krauss will be there to testify. I’ve not heard who from Missoula’s local government will be there to represent, but I’d love to update if anyone knows.

House Judiciary won’t likely take executive action today. They wouldn’t have the guts, as there will undoubtedly be an huge number of people in opposition to this bill in attended. Please take the time to contact legislators and them know that Montana should be a state that supports equality. That Helena should stay out of running local government…and instead of trying to run local government, perhaps they should start funding it instead of making all kinds of “unfunded mandates” up there every session while limiting local taxing capability to 1/2 the rate of inflation.

You can use this online messaging form and contact the whole committee at one time, or by choosing a legislator. It does not appear that they’ve got software in there that allows you to pick more than one legislator at a time. Hopefully they’ll add that in the future. Or at least “up to 5” or something like that.

by jhwygirl

I’ve ranted to a seemingly uninformed audience in support of Governor Schweitzer’s bill to change the way certain oil & gas revenues are distributed.

I’ve called it unfair. I’ve decried the conservatives lambasting of the proposal as further evidence of their hypocrisy towards government subsidies. I’ve complained about how it it shows an abandonment of the free market – and example of how this so-called great profitable high-paying and tons-of-jobs industry doesn’t truly support the communities from where it extracts it’s resources.

Because if there are all of these high-paying jobs, shouldn’t those high-paid employees be paying taxes that support the social infrastructure of the community?

Lee reporter Mike Dennison has a great article on the issue which includes a paragraph better summing up the message I may have failed to convey.

A handful of school districts – primarily in far eastern Montana – get millions of dollars in oil-and-gas revenue, have large financial reserves and levy zero or very few local property tax mills to support their schools.

What that oil & gas fund has done is bought the pockets of a whole bunch of legislators out east and a whole bunch of voters that don’t have to pay taxes to support their schools.

Imagine the perspective you might have if you in Missoula or in the Flathead or up in Lewis & Clark county didn’t have to pay taxes to support your schools?

Imagine the political perspective in the counties listed here if those citizens there actually had to pay “market” taxes for schools?

I’ve said a bunch of times and I’ll say it again – the mineral estate is the property of the citizens of Montana. If the state is taxing it, it belongs to everyone. It is not the property of a handful of counties with less than half of the state’s population so that they can have lower taxes and so they don’t have to support their schools.

HB136 was killed Wednesday in House Education.

It’s disgusting. It’s unfair. It’s wrong.

Governor Brian Schweitzer was correct.

On this one.

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